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‘Stand By Me’

‘Stand By Me’  

 

We all face tough moments of decision, when we must choose whether to make a stand on principle and speak out, or to remain silent and comply with those who threaten us or others, and so preserve the status quo. 

We may be tempted to avoid conflict and rejection by not speaking out for what we believe is right; the personal cost may be more than we are prepared to pay.

By refusing to laugh at jokes that unfairly denigrate others, we actually put ourselves in the firing line. 

By standing alongside those whom others want to judge and reject, we risk being judged and rejected ourselves. 

When we refuse to participate in acts of violence or retribution against perceived enemies we may be regarded as traitors. 

Whistleblowers who refuse to condone unbecoming or illegal behaviour often pay a heavy price for speaking out in the name of truth and justice. 

In our own families and churches, when we begin to embrace beliefs and values that are different from the norm we may be disowned, ‘dropped’ from the A-list of our friends, or even excommunicated. 

But when we compromise our convictions, we lose our integrity and something of our own souls. 

While it may cost us personally to live out the welcoming, forgiving, serving, loving, peaceful and justice-seeking values of God’s kingdom as modelled by Jesus, to fail to do so hurts us and our world far more. 

 

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. … and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it’ [Matt 10:34, 38, 39].

 

Adapted from http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2014/05/proper-7a-ordinary-12a-pentecost-2a/

 

 

Genesis 21:8-21   Hagar and Ishmael are banished to the wilderness.

8The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” 11The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”

14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” 19Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Matthew 10:24-39

24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.